Award category: Purple Pioneer

This award honours an individual who has advanced disability equality in their local community. This could be a disabled person, or a non-disabled ally, who has raised awareness of disability issues or worked to change attitudes. This category recognises the work an individual has done to positively affect those around them.

Winner

Nominees in this award category

Adam Khan

Adam Khan poses outside for the photo. They wear a black jacket with pins on the lapel. One of the pins reads 'they/them'.

Adam Khan

As a non-binary, queer, neurodivergent and disabled activist, Adam Khan understands intersectional barriers. From this perspective they empower marginalised communities at grassroots to international levels. This includes working with 20 Pride organisations across England, Wales and Ireland to ensure disabled access is promoted in the LGBTQIA+ Pride movement.

Adam’s activism includes networking with international companies to provide scholarships for care leavers and volunteering in Calais helping refugees. This is because they understand that by working together marginalised communities can overcome societal barriers.

Bayparvah Kaur Gehdu

Bayparvah smiles nfor the camera. She wears a black jumper.

Bayparvah Kaur Gehdu

Bayparvah Kaur is a disability rights advocate and lived experience campaigner. She has collaborated with renowned organisations including the Wellcome Trust and Baaz News, creating platforms for open dialogue about disability.

When identifying a need to support parents of neurodiverse children in the Sikh community, Bayparvah demonstrated her resourcefulness by partnering with Gurdwaras. In a culture where disability is often stigmatized, integrating support within a Gurdwara – a place where community members frequently gather – has fostered conversations and increased awareness.

Deborah Lawson

Deborah smiles at the camera. She wears a sleeveless black top.

Deborah Lawson

Deborah Lawson is a disability advocate. She has over two decades’ experience and an impressive track record of achievements. She was an early trailblazer advocating for diversity, equality, and inclusion. She has helped enhance accessibility and inclusivity in thousands of buildings across the UK.

Deborah introduced accessible fashion advice during personal shopping appointments in over 500 stores. And over 600 stores have used her disability awareness training. She supports her local council and advocates for thousands of disabled people 1:1.

JJ McKenna Coleman

JJ smiles for the camera. They wear a black jumper with a colourful, patterned shirt underneath.

JJ McKenna Coleman

JJ McKenna is a key member of the Youth Collective in Leeds. They champion disabled voices in the group. This includes leading the Leeds Disabled Out n About project. JJ also focuses on decreasing isolation and building opportunities for young disabled people in Leeds.

As a disabled member of the queer community, they understand current issues faced by people marginalised by society. JJ has also helped shape Leeds Disability Pride and the DIY Football League.

Zahari Brimacombe

Zahari smiles at the camera. They wear a girlguiding uniform.

Zahari Brimacombe

Zahari Brimacombe champions the cause of disabled people in Somerset. Their achievements include establishing a reasonable adjustments fund for disabled staff at NHS Somerset Foundation Trust and contributing to the coproduction of Somerset’s autism services. As inclusion advisor to Girlguiding Somerset, Zahari enables autistic and neurodivergent girls and disabled adult volunteers to attend camps and weekly meetings.

Zahari also plays and promotes wheelchair tennis and is a key member of Open Table Taunton, an LGBTQ+ inclusive church meeting accessible to disabled people.

Judges of this award category